Archaeologists are thrilled by the discovery of a marble altar with a carved figure depicting a coiled snake in the ancient city of Patara, also well known as the "cradle of civilizations," in Turkey's southern Antalya.
The altar, which is believed to date back more than 2,000 years, was found during excavations conducted in an area close to the Roman baths and walls.
It is decorated with a snake relief that appears to be winding around the stone.
Mustafa Koçak, an academic at the Department of archaeology at Antalya Bilim University and also the vice president of the excavation team in Patara, told reporters that the discovery highlights the first of its kind in the ancient Patara site.
"We found a snake-shaped altar for the first time in Patara. Similar discoveries were made in some ancient cities in Muğla but this is the first time such a discovery has been made in Patara. This altar depicts the relations of people in Patara with the outside world," Koçak said.
He added that residents of the area were polytheistic in ancient times and made offerings at the altar in a bid to appease the gods of the underworld. Furthermore, the snake motif on the altar is thought to be associated with the gods